Modifiability of abnormal isometric elbow and shoulder joint torque coupling after stroke

Michael D. Ellis, Bradley G. Holubar, Ana Maria Acosta, Randall F. Beer, Julius P.A. Dewald*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Unlike individuals with mild stroke, individuals with severe stroke are constrained to stereotypical movement patterns attributed to abnormal coupling of shoulder abductors with elbow flexors, and shoulder adductors with elbow extensors. Whether abnormal muscle coactivation and associated joint torque patterns can be changed in this population is important to determine given that it bears on the development of effective rehabilitation interventions. Eight subjects participated in a protocol that was designed to reduce abnormal elbow/shoulder joint torque coupling by training them to generate combinations of isometric elbow and shoulder joint torques away from the constraining patterns. After training, subjects demonstrated a significant reduction in abnormal torque coupling and a subsequent significant increase in ability to generate torque patterns away from the abnormal pattern. We suggest the rapid time-course of these changes reflects a residual capacity of the central nervous system to adapt to a novel behavioral training environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-178
Number of pages9
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Arm
  • Rehabilitation
  • Strength
  • Stroke
  • Synergy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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